Food memories of Greece

I’ve finally embarked on sharing my holiday memories from our Greek trip last autumn, if you didn’t read the first part about our beautiful hotel Kinsterna and the Peloponnese just click the link.  Today we’re off to the island of Elafonisos, right down at the tip of the Peloponnese.

On the ferry to Elafonisos

Like most people I like to do some research once a holiday is booked, and with the wonder of the internet you can find all manner of gorgeous looking places to visit near to where you are staying.  I like to do things visually, so I used Google Images and Pinterest to do my research, and made a list of places we could go to based on pretty pictures.  Ah, girls.

Ferry to Elafonisos

One of those places was the island of Elafonisos.  Do a quick Google search and you’ll see why it was on my list – those fabulous beaches and crystal clear water.  Who wouldn’t want to visit somewhere like this.  So a few days into our holiday we set off in our little hire car to the ferry port at Neapoli Vion.

Peloponnese views

Whichever way we went, it seemed to be the scenic route, but in this part of Greece I’m not sure there’s many quick ways of getting anywhere – leave plenty of time for travel!  It might not look very far on the map, but the roads wiggle and vary from nicely tarmacked to dirt lanes.  I insisted we stop at various points to take pictures.  What I would give for blue skies like that right now!

Greek mountains Views around the Peloponnese

Stopping to admire the views and take pictures of some of the local flora…

The Peloponnese

Views of the Peloponnese

Seedhead

From the place where you catch the ferry from, you can see Elafonisos – it only takes about 5-10 minutes to cross.  Sitting in the car with the windows down, waiting with a few other travellers for the ferry to arrive, was blissful in itself.

Waiting for the ferry to Elafonisos

Waiting for the ferry to Elafonisos

The waters around the beaches here are turquoise and clear, and even though their not as pretty as those on the island it had already got me anticipating what awaited us across this small stretch of water.

The ferry to Elafonisos

Heading to Elafonisos

Mr Rigg on the ferry to Elafonisos

As we got closer to the little town on Elafonisos it reminded me of arriving by ferry to the island of Amalfi in Italy when I was eighteen. They are both so picturesque, Elafonisos with its pretty whitewashed church jutting out from the town on a tiny island so low in the sea you fear it could get swept away with a gust of wind.

White church on Elafonisos

Elafonisos

There aren’t many route options on Elafonisos as it’s so tiny, but one of them leads to the other side of the island and some beautiful beaches.  We found the tiny car park easily, and although there were a number of other cars once we got onto the beach everyone was so spread out it was almost like having it to yourself.

Island of Elafonisos

Sand dune on Elafonisos

We pitched our towels under some wooden structure (perhaps it was a lifeguard seat, I can’t remember) to give ourselves a bit of shade – everyone else had umbrellas an item we couldn’t fit in our Easyjet luggage allowance.

For lunch we had briefly nipped into a bakery in the little island town.  Mr Rigg ate a cheese and ham pastry pie, and I had a spanakopita, which is a Greek filo pie filled with spinach and feta cheese.

Us on the beach at Elafonisos

Spanakopita

It wasn’t the most authentic looking bakery as I imagine the seafront gets quite touristy and as such small shops seem to cater to these crowds, but I was pleasantly surprised by how tasty it was.

Greek spanakopita with spinach and feta

The rest of the day was spent doing what you would imagine – sunbathing, swimming, getting a little burnt (we are British!), and reading books.  I am not a huge fan of swimming in the sea but with such clear waters I wasn’t afraid of getting in.  Mr Rigg on the otherhand had me in kittens as he swam out until he was just a little speck.

Top marks to anyone who can spot the ‘speck’ that is Mr Rigg in this picture…he really is just a black spot in the middle somewhere…

Swimming on Elafonisos

He assured me it wasn’t that deep, but I still had a moment sat there on that Greek beach panicking about what I would do if he suddenly started flailing his arms all that way out and shouting for help.  Thankfully that didn’t happen and we made our way back to the town for dinner.

Elafonisos harbour

We chose a little harbourside taverna for dinner, sitting outside on blue and white painted chairs with lots of friendly cats for company.  There were all those sorts of characters you imagine you’ll see on a Greek seaside town, fixing their nets and chatting with friends.

Taverna on Elafonisos

View from our harbourside table on Elafonisos

Cats at Elafonisos

Mr Rigg ate a big plateful of meatballs and chips, and I had pastitsio which is like a Greek lasagne with a cinnamon scented tomato sauce.

Greek food on Elafonisos

Greek meatballs and chips

We also ordered tzatsiki, a garlic dip, and a Greek salad, imagining that these would be small dishes…they weren’t, they were huge.  We had this massive bowl of Greek garlic dip skordalia which had never tried before, and the size of it knowing it was garlic was pretty intimidating – but it was divine.  I don’t think we managed it all but we gave it a good try.

Greek salad, tzatsiki and skordalia

After dinner we wondered along the harbourside at all the sweet little fishing boats and taking a few pictures of ourselves looking rather frazzled after a day in the sun.

Elafonisos harbour

Elafonisos harbour

Finally we caught the ferry back to the mainland, with the sun setting behind us over the island.

Sunset over Elafonisos harbour

Me on ferry leaving Elafonisos

Mr Rigg on ferry leaving Elafonisos

Sunset in Greece

I didn’t really take many pictures on the journey back to Kinsterna, but I wanted to mention this trip back as it will always stick in my mind.  At one point on the road between the ferry and the hotel we’d had the option to take a quicker route along a more ‘rustic’ road – we did this both on the way there and back in the end because of a tiny little village and Mr Rigg liked the excuse of a bit of ‘rally’ driving.

Peloponnese at dusk

Plus we came across tiny cyclamen growing wild…

Wild cyclamen in Greece

This tiny little Greek village was halfway down a mountainside on this bumpy road.  It had been very cute looking on the way down in the morning, with houses right up against the road, and on the otherside of us these funny little sitting areas on the edge of the mountain with views out over the sea.  I say funny because they seemed odd at first to me, but when you saw the view you could quite imagine why everyone had their garden chair on the opposite side of the road.

Greek village

On the way back, dusk was falling and it was a magical drive back up this road and through the village.  There are these roadside shrines all over the Peloponnese and some were lit with candles as we drove past.  Going through the village you got glimpses through doorways into courtyards with piles of logs all stacked up, and around one bend our headlights caught an old lady sitting on a wall stroking a goat.

Goats in Greece

I was completely besotted and the moment we got back I noted down all these special little moments we had glimpsed along this journey.  I never want to forget them, I think they are what makes life magical.

My next instalment of our trip to Greece will be about our journey around the Mani and exploring the old walled city of Monemvasia.  If you’d like to read all about my Greek food memories click on the link.

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